WATCH: Michael Phelps loses 'race' against great white shark

24 July 2017 - 11:03 By TimesLIVE
Michael Phelps much-hyped about race with a great white shark was a let down for some.
Michael Phelps much-hyped about race with a great white shark was a let down for some.
Image: Twitter/Discovery Shark Week

Can the world's greatest swimmer outpace a great white shark? Spoiler alert - turns out the answer is no.

Michael Phelps lost his much-hyped about 'race' with the fearsome predator edging him out by just 2 seconds.

For the swim, Phelps wore a wetsuit and adapted his technique by wearing a monofin, which replicates a shark tail and allowed him to increase his top speed by about 17%. However it was still not enough to compete with the shark that swam the length of the open ocean course in 36.1 seconds — while Phelps did it in 38.1.


The race was filmed in open water off Cape Town. 

However, those hoping to see Phelps take to the sea with Jaws were sorely disappointed as it turned out the two each took turns to swim the 100 meter race, with their final times being compared to see who was the winner.

Discovery later super imposed an image of the shark on the other side of Phelps to give the appearance of an actual swimming race.

And Twitter was not happy about it:

 The race is part of Discovery Channel's Shark Week, and Phelps shared an Instagram post in which he said being in a cage and diving with a shark was something he "had always wanted to do".

He is not the first Olympian to race an animal. Track and field legend Jesse Owens once outran a horse in Havana - after getting a 40m head start. But a cheetah easily beat Usain Bolt over 100m in a virtual race.

'Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White' is on Discovery Channel at 10pm on Monday.